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Rant #331
(published May 24, 2007)
The Misunderstood Life of St. Barnaby Stylites
by C.B. Hinojosa
In my recent studies at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, I had the great luck to stumble upon a magnificent find. Initially, I had been researching the annual sales of Gorgonzola, by pound, in the area northwest of Florence, during the thirteenth century. But, as I searched through the pertinent texts, I came across a file of documents that was written by a monk from St. Anthony's in Florence. This file told the story of two divergent sects of Christianity that arose during the eighth century and were subsequently quashed by the Church. The file is comprised of many varied documents, beginning with an initial set of notes from an inquiry of the two sects, and ending with the bill for the executing and displaying of the heretics involved.

The two sects were started by two scholars and one-time friends, Lovidian and Eleazar. Initially, the schism began as a simple argument between the two philosophers arising out of a document that Lovidian had found on one of his travels. Soon, numbers grew, emotions became heated, and the two factions found themselves at odds with each other as well as the Church itself.

Yet, what is so intriguing about the schism of the Eleazarites and Lovidianians is that this incident was caused by an odd little document containing a story that was in opposition to the beliefs of the Church. This schism, which occurred in the eighth century, was initially caused by an account of a man that had lived four hundred years earlier: St. Barnaby Stylites, an early Christian ascetic who was abused by Pagans, castrated himself and then lived on a pillar in the desert. At first glance, his story looked much the same as those of a number of other early Christian ascetics.[1]

St. Barnaby was not the only hermit to live atop a pillar. Simeon Stylites the Elder, St. Daniel Stylites, St. Alypius, and St. Luke the Younger are all characters whose stories probably spring instantly to mind. This particular form of devotional sprang up during the early Christian era, when worship of the Trinity was not as codified and homogenous as it is today. Whereas now the adoration of God and Christ is relatively the same everywhere, in the early centuries after the birth of Christ, the people were just discovering this new God made into Man and were not sure of how to go about showing their reverence. While many people worshipped by conducting mass in a way recognizable to us, other early Christians performed more extreme acts of reverence.

Many of these early Christians decided to use fasting and long periods of meditation to show their love of their god. Some early Christians even decided that humans, who were inherently corrupt, did not make proper company. These people moved off, into the wilderness away from the depravity of the cities, and lived solitary lives while they contemplated their faith. These hermits also began abstaining from sleep and food. A small number isolated their movements, sitting in cramped or uncomfortable positions. These ascetics, such as St. Doloran the Pious (ch. vii), theorized that abusing the body actually aids in its purification. They attempted to atone for the sins inherent in men's flesh by mortifying it.[2]

Some early Christian ascetics determined that there was another step that could be taken in order to rid the body of its fleshy temptations. Some ascetics went so far as to castrate themselves for their faith. They took their cue from a particular passage from the Book of Matthew. In the passage, Jesus says that some men "became eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven" (19:12). These early eunuchs for Christ decided that their scrota were a small price to pay for salvation and traded their manhood for sainthood.[3]

In many parts of the Near East there already existed various cults and sects that practiced self-mutilation before Christ was born. During the first few centuries when Christianity was spreading throughout the area, these two ideas made contact. That is to say, cultures that practiced self-mutilation were introduced to a religion whose god was personified in a man that was tortured and crucified. The two ideas combined to form a new ascetic, one that sought to atone for sin through physical pain.[4]

All of these measures to cleanse the body through various-often violent-means should not surprise anyone. During the years of the Black Plague, violent forms of devotion, including scourging, were common. The story of Thomas Beckett should be familiar to most people. Servants to the emperor during the Wang dynasty castrated themselves in adoration of their emperor-god and hung their desiccated organs from necklaces, which they always wore. While these practices, especially the castration, may seem extreme, all participants unflappably state that their actions have aided them in their spiritual life. [5]

Many of these extreme acts of devotion still occur today. The H'ung Nhat monks of Northwestern Laos, noted for their angelic choir, still castrate their prepubescent members upon acceptance to the order. Every Good Friday in the Philippines, willing townspeople are made to suffer from painful flagellation. Three citizens undergo mock crucifixion. Forms of self-abuse and ritual torture have even been incorporated into realms other than that of the religious. The sexual practices of certain groups of fetishists involve painful acts that are said to heighten the sexual experience.[6]

Yet among all of the saints that practiced the ascetic arts, few can compare to St. Barnaby of Cilicia, who practiced not only submissive restraints, but self-mutilation and even castration. St. Barnaby's official church history was written by St. Sonophrasis. It runs along the lines of many hagiographies of the time. According to it, St. Barnaby was born a pagan, was called by God, debased himself, castrated himself, sequestered himself, converted many people, was abused by even more, and then wasted away and died in painful solitude as all good saints should.[7]

Yet, in the year of our Lord 756, the theologian Lovidian uncovered a text in the Library of Damascus that was written by a Roman named Fluvius, a contemporary of Barnaby. In it, a different version of Barnaby's life is told. Fluvius met Barnaby ten years before the latter's death. Fluvius also managed to speak with Barnaby during one of the latter's more lucid moments, which is lucky, for, by this time (if one is to believe Fluvius), Barnaby was almost completely and hopelessly insane. The document is a letter written by Fluvius to a male relative, discussing his travels. A sizeable portion of the letter is concerned with Barnaby, who fascinated Fluvius.

Fluvius' version runs thus:

Barnaby blamed all of his misfortunes throughout his adulthood on one of his neighbors, the wheelwright, a Delian, often called as such. One night when Barnaby was sixteen, he got hopelessly drunk. He then snuck into the house of the wheelwright and had sex with the Delian's eldest daughter, which was Barnaby's first sexual encounter.[8]

When he finished up, Barnaby took two bottles of the wheelwright's finest wine and went for a walk throughout the town. Barnaby was so drunkenly excited and proud of his first taste of a woman that he spent the next three hours stumbling through the streets of Epiphaneia proclaiming: "I have seen the bearded face of God, and it is beautiful. I have tasted the wet kiss from God's lips, and it is beautiful. I have felt the gentle caress of God, and it is beautiful," and other such phrases. Meanwhile, the Delian awoke and learned of what Barnaby had done. The wheelwright immediately went out into the street and whipped Barnaby until his strength gave out. Barnaby was so drunk that he offered no resistance except for tears. The Delian then told Barnaby that he had to marry his daughter or be killed. Barnaby married the Delian's daughter.

The story of Barnaby's adventures quickly spread throughout Epiphaneia. For several years, Barnaby was mocked and jeered at in the streets. He soon became bitter and started to hate the Delian. To avenge himself on the Delian, Barnaby snuck into the wheelwright's house one night and took the Delian's youngest daughter's virginity. Barnaby was immensely proud of himself and his vengeful feat, and his mood brightened up for a year or so. But when the time came for the Delian's youngest daughter to marry, his secret came out. The morning he found out, the Delian walked over to his son-in-law's house, accompanied by the wheelwright's hound dog, named Cerberus. As soon as Barnaby left his house to go to work, Cerberus attacked, clamping down on Barnaby's genitals. Barnaby shrieked so loud that the Delian lost some of the hearing in his right ear. Barnaby's shriek also startled Cerberus, who quickly ran off, taking most of Barnaby's penis and one of his testicles with him as a snack.[9]

From that day, Barnaby drank little, as the act of urinating was excruciatingly painful, and he slept little as well, as his rankling wound caused constant pain. He also became the town's plaything, having stones thrown at him by children and punches thrown at him by the adults. He stopped bathing or caring about his appearance. The lack of liquids and sleep, combined with the continued tormenting of the citizens, caused Barnaby to suffer a breakdown. A little less than a year after Cerberus ate Barnaby's manhood, Barnaby left the town. Barnaby wandered through the hills surrounding Epiphaneia for several years, his hatred festering like the sores that wracked his groin. One day, he stumbled across a sandstone pillar alongside the road. At the time, Barnaby was overly concerned with vengeance and took little notice of the pillar, although it would later become very important to the story of Barnaby. [10]

While he wandered through the hills, Barnaby became obsessed by the idea of his revenge on the Delian. Barnaby listlessly stumbled across the rock and sand for years, picturing an infinite amount of ways in which to kill the wheelwright. One night, after years of dreaming, Barnaby finally decided to act, and he took a rock and went into Epiphaneia. Barnaby then snuck into the house of the Delian, and upon seeing a man on the floor, attacked. Barnaby had long allowed his body to waste away. He was far from being strong enough to kill the man, but Barnaby did greatly injure him.

The Delian, meanwhile, awoke to the sound of his youngest son being beaten into stupidity by Barnaby. Before the Delian could even react, Cerberus II attacked Barnaby, biting his pantaloons and ripping them off in the struggle. Barnaby managed to evade the dog long enough to jump through the window and run. The Delian immediately alerted the Roman authorities, but they either failed to consider the one-figged one a valid threat or didn't care enough to take action. The wheelwright was unfazed. He grabbed Cerberus II and began tracking Barnaby.

Meanwhile, Barnaby was running from the town as fast as he was able, which wasn't too fast. Luckily for him, the Delian was now quite old, and wasn't able to pursue Barnaby too quickly, but with Cerberus II, the wheelwright was able to track Barnaby easily enough. After several hours of pursuit, Barnaby realized that he would eventually be caught and, upon seeing Assur-Nassur-Bani-pal's gigantic erect phallus, managed to scramble up it, which, given the state of his body and mind, was perhaps the one truly miraculous occurrence in Barnaby's life. As Barnaby quickly learned, the phallus, rounded at the tip, provided no flat surfaces for Barnaby to stand upon, consequently forcing him to constantly grapple with the head for adequate purchase.

When the Delian saw Barnaby climbing up the gigantic phallus sans pants, he was inspired. The wheelwright had not spent the last five years forgiving Barnaby. And the recent attack on the wheelwright's son did nothing to placate his anger. He staked Cerberus II in front of the pillar and went back into to town. Later that day, he came with tents and cooking utensils and set up camp underneath the pillar (he would ultimately have to move his camp outside of the range of Barnaby's flung excrement). For months, the Delian watched as Barnaby sat atop the pillar and taunted the crowds, many members of which threw rocks at him. During that time, the Delian never allowed Barnaby to come off of the pillar and Barnaby never tried to escape. After a year had elapsed, the Delian realized that Barnaby was completely insane and decided to go home.

By the time the wheelwright left, Barnaby had forgotten that he had ever belonged anywhere but on that phallus. As it was, Barnaby had become so used to the phallus that he was able to crawl around the head with a good degree of mobility and freedom. When Barnaby did experience a moment of lucidity, in which he was able to see what a disaster his life had been and become, this was when he wept. When Barnaby did eat, which was rare, it was by baiting the birds of the area with his own excrement (which was now spread over much of the pillar's top), and then patiently waiting for one of them to land near enough for Barnaby to snatch it and gobble it up, raw. His only drink was the inconstant rain.

Barnaby, over the years, came to see the sun as God. And being stuck up on a sandstone pillar for decades in Syria will convince a man that the sun is not only God, but a vengeful and hate-filled God. He would shout at the passers-by warnings about the Sun. "God's eye can see everything on earth and it can see through to your soul as well," Barnaby would say. "His gaze burns your soul with the ferocity of Hell . . . Quail before His leer and offer prayers for His clemency." These types of monitions were soon accompanied with wild haranguing and rabid threats about God's eternal vengeance. Every dawn, Barnaby would curse the sun and seek to prevent its rising through physical force (usually with an exaggerated and imaginary fist-fight). At sundown, Barnaby would again curse the sun and seek to hasten its setting with force. Crowds began to gather. The boys in the crowd soon began throwing rocks and darts at Barnaby, much to the amusement of the throng.

This was how Fluvius found Barnaby: One day, as he rode from Antioch to Sardis, he encountered a strange sight. A gigantic phallus stood impressively erect by the side of the road. On its shit-smeared head, an amazingly filthy, naked man crawled around in a manner very similar to that of an insect. Every now and again the man would bark out some unintelligible threat or fling his feces at the crowd, who constantly threw rocks at him. Fluvius decided to spend the night next to the phallus with its supremely interesting parasite. That evening, during one of Barnaby's weeping fits, Fluvius was able to actually converse with Barnaby and was told this tale. Later, Fluvius learned that when Barnaby died, a murder of crows adopted his body atop the phallus as a home and they ate off of his body for years. After Barnaby's death, Fluvius composed this piece.

Before Barnaby had died, local merchants of Epiphaneia began spreading stories about the mystical hermit, in order to increase traffic through the town. By the time Barnaby was dead, the legends of supposedly saint-like behavior surrounded his life. St. Sonophrasis composed his hagiography of St. Barnaby Stylites one hundred and seventeen years after Barnaby's death.

Yet why is the life of St. Barnaby so important? If you recall, the theologian Lovidian discovered Fluvuis' version of Barnaby's life in the year of our Lord 756. This discovery prompted the birth of two divergent sects of Christianity. Lovidian, after returning to Tuscany, showed Fluvius' piece to his good friend and fellow theologian, Eleazar. The two often met in the local tavern to discuss what the writing could mean. Such a piece as this and what it indicated about the lives of the early Christians was sure to beg innumerable questions. How could a pope canonize someone that could not possibly be considered a saint? During this time, the infallibility of the pope was de facto as opposed to de jure, so the two theologians were much quicker to doubt the pope's judgment (unlike today where every word the pope utters is considered inviolable truth). But if a man was sainted when he was in fact not a holy man, not even a Christian, what could that mean? What does that say about the pope who canonized him? The two men agreed undeniably that the pope St. Hormisdas had been mistaken. But the fame and renown of Hormisdas' administerial skills was known the world over. Could he possibly have made such a mistake? And what of the other canonizations performed by that pope? Did St. Lucille the Byzantine, who was canonized by Hormisdas the year before Barnaby, really deserve her sainthood?

The two theologians, soon accompanied by the learned men of the town, argued this and many other questions, for, as soon as the two theologians began to discuss a question, another arose in its place. If Hormisdas made a mistake, what of the other popes? Could another pope have made a mistake? Were there any real saints? Was St. Ignatius of Antioch merely an idiot who didn't know that lions could kill people? Did St. Theresa whore herself out to barbarians? And what of the first pope? Can we believe St. Peter? And what about the rest of the Apostles? At this suggestion the men stopped themselves, almost unable to continue the conversation, but unable to let such a question remain unanswered. The learned men of the community were also shocked at the idea. There they sat, Lovidian and Eleazar, surrounded by groups of men who were already picking sides in the argument, yet all were almost too scared to continue. Almost. Then, after a few minutes, one of the theologians, and it is not known whether it was Lovidian or Eleazar, asked the question: And what about Jesus himself?

These men came to a conclusion at the end of the night. They agreed that the Gospels were false in their descriptions of Jesus. If such a reverend father as Hormisdas could make a mistake, then surely others as Paul, Peter, and Mark could make mistakes as well. Yet they took this conclusion into two wholly different directions.

Eleazar argued that Jesus, much like Barnaby, never wanted his fate. The theologian also said that Jesus was aware of his own impending death and struggled to stave it off. This can be seen in the line "E'lo-i, E'lo-i, lama sabach'thani? which is, being interpreted, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'" (Mark 15:34), words uttered by Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Eleazar contended that this shows that Jesus was aware of his impending doom and cursed his father for condemning him to it. This shows that the glory of God is greater than we initially thought. By giving up His only Son, even when the Son rejects his fate and is angered by it, God is showing His true love for mankind, which exceeds even that of His love for His Son.

Lovidian, on the other hand, chose a different approach. By using that same line: "E'lo-i, E'lo-i, lama sabach'thani? which is, being interpreted, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'" (Mark 15:34), Lovidian illustrated that Jesus was unaware of his fate. If Jesus, as Eleazar contended, knew of his fate, then he wouldn't have assumed God was forsaking him, just merely condemning him to his pre-appointed fate. But if, on the other hand, Jesus were unaware of his fate, much like Barnaby, then and only then would he have thought that he was being completely forsaken by God. And in this aspect, Jesus is shown to have more glory than we first considered. Jesus was completely innocent; he had no foreknowledge of his own death. Calmly did he walk to the court of Pilate, all the way asking of His father "but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" (Gen 22:7).

One argument glorified God; the other glorified Jesus. These two theologians would continue to refine their particular beliefs in the tavern each night. The group of listeners eventually took sides and formed sects that followed the theologians. And as many different arguments were brought in, the discussion always fell back to the passage from Mark. Eventually a lone monk, whose name is not known, was sent by St. Anthony's to investigate the claims of heresy. It is his writing that informed us about Eleazar and Lovidian.

One day, after the argument had been raging for hours about the interpretation of the one line from Mark, the unnamed monk spoke up: "Isn't it foolish, don't you think, to continue this argument? For, you see, you have already proven, at least to your own weak minds, that the Gospels are false. Yet you are using a line from the Gospels to prove your point. Heresy aside, this is a very fallacious line of thought. It seems foolish to me."

Silence fell over the gatherers, quickly. They thought about what the monk had said and hung their heads in shame. All of their conversations over the past four months had been based on an ignorant assumption. They were made to feel like fools.

But, a lone Lovidianian, quite drunk and one of the rowdiest of the group, turned to the monk, said "Shut your mouth," and broke a chair over his head. A giant brawl broke out, prompting the authorities to intervene. The scene was quite chaotic with Eleazarites attacking Lovidianians and the local authorities attacking both and being attacked by both. Four were killed, fifteen injured. Based on the lone monk's transcriptions of the event, the local bishops easily had enough information to condemn and burn the two theologians and their followers as heretics. They also had sufficient cause to hang them for their actions in the brawl, but the clement church patriarchs preferred burning, in order to warn others of heretical thoughts. This was one the first burnings over a corruption of a story. Many more, as we all know, would follow.

Let me leave you with some words, written by Fluvius, at the end of his account of Barnaby: "Barnaby's actions should surprise no man, that he sought safety on a monument representing his greatest defeat. What man could endure so great a loss and not, in some form or fashion, seek to assuage the pain of that loss with a symbolic replacement? Look at Prosymnus' phallus or Snefru's pyramids. The Moral of the Story: if a man's piece is taken away, do not be surprised if he overcompensates when replacing it."


1. The term "ascetic" is one whose meaning has changed greatly over time. Whereas the word now conjures up images of silent friars, Brahmin mystics, or perhaps Xaolin warrior monks, it did not always have this particular denotation. The word "ascetic" originally comes from the Greek askesis, which means "to exercise" or "to contend with athletic dedication." By performing an act of askesis, athletes were attempting to attain physical perfection by developing a divine body. This idea was then adapted by St. Paul, who was familiar with Greek practices, when he compared the pentathlon with the spiritual battle for morality faced by Christians (Cor 9:24). Yet instead of struggling in pursuit of a laurel wreath or perhaps the affections of an elder statesman as the Greek athlete did, the Christian, as Christ tells us, struggles for the kingdom of Heaven (Matt 11:12). And whereas the Greek ascetics tried to hone their bodies into a perfect physical specimen resembling that of a god, the Christian ascetics wanted to shape their souls into a perfect spiritual specimen that became one with God. Then Valentinian of Syracuse (ch. xxix) combined the theological concept of askesis that Paul had begun with that of the Platonic mind-body duality to form a new asceticism that was directed at improving one's spirit as opposed to one's body. And whereas the Greek athletic ascetic was in prime physical condition, the Christian ascetic's body usually suffered as a result of its owner's concentration on the spirit.

2. The practice of mortifying the flesh first resulted in self-deprivation of food and sleep. From there ascetics began restricting their movements. St. Gregory of Nazianzus (ch. xvii) tells the story of a hermit that stood in contemplation for thirteen years without ever speaking, moving, eating, sleeping or lying down. Therstys of Macedon (ch. lvii) tells of a man that stood in a field, bent over touching his toes, for forty-three years straight in an attempt to atone for his shortcomings. Therstys also tells of how the same man patiently accepted the frequent acts of sodomy to which his position left him open, and even thanked his abusers for their aid on his spiritual journey. The culmination of this type of mortification is best exemplified, of course, by the Stylites.

3. Origen, who was later deemed heretical, was one of the earliest Christians to castrate himself, citing the passage in the Book of Matthew. The members of an early Christian sect, the Valesii, castrated themselves and then forcibly castrated all of the male members of their families for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Some ascetics even practiced castration in such a way as to provide the maximum amount of pain, as when Justephus (ch. xxiii), tells us how St. Theodotorus the Younger would rub olive oil onto his genitals and anus and sit in anthills while he prayed, thus completely castrating himself over the course of eight years.

4. This mortification/mutilation began simply, as when Philodotus of Thrace (ch. xvii) tells us of a monk that allowed himself to be publicly flogged whenever he committed a sin. This continued for several weeks until two drunken Byzantine cavalrymen got into a flogging contest that resulted in the monk's death. These acts became more and more complex as when Philoctetes of Parnassus (ch. ix) tells us how Phorbyas the Elder ate sharpened lead shards for five years until the practice killed him. His nephew and follower, Phorbyas the Younger, sought to outdo his mentor and crammed a foot-long birch branch into his anus and lived with it for three weeks until his bowels ruptured.

5. There have been many theories into the practice of mortifying the flesh. Many psychiatrists, most notably Dr. Richard Kuntzler (1893-1965) have written about how inflicting pain releases a flood of chemicals to the brain that results in a state of mind that resembles euphoria. And when this state of euphoria is tinged with religious fervor, the results can be electrifying to the ascetic. It is also said that after suffering a horrible act of violence, the sudden feeling of shock can seem supernatural; such as when Julius the Corinthian (ch. xxviii) tells us how St. Lycias sliced open his bowels and then spoke with God until he died.

6. Kuntzler has also asserted that the majority of acts of religious self-mutilation are not too distant from acts of sexual masochism. This link between sexual masochism and religious self-mutilation has been explored most notably by the mid 18th century theologian and libertine Monsieur le comte d'Batrederrier, who is credited as being history's first well-documented sexual masochist and history's only documented Christian sexual masochistic theologian. Monsieur le comte d'Batrederrier began combining sexually masochistic acts with the pageantry of Catholic masses. He began his seminal work, Sodomie Pour Le Souffrance d'Jesus (1743), with an anecdote that tells of how Jesus died on the cross because he forgot the predetermined safe word ("cwrht"-Aramaic for "cheese"). When the Monsieur was thirty-three, he died of blood loss from a wound he acquired while performing fellatio on a Crimean saber. His last words, although garbled due to his shredded tongue, were still understood; they translate into: "I have become unto my God on a cross."

7. St. Sonophrasis' account of St. Barnaby Stylites runs thus:

In nomine Patri et Filii et Spiritu Sancti. In the two hundred and thirty first year after God sent his only Son, made flesh, into the womb of that most venerated lady, so that He might be born and then die for our salvation, while St. Pontian, son of Calpurnius ruled as pontifex maximus, and during the schism of Hippolytas as well as the condemnation of Origen, while Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexandrus of Palestine, son of Gessius Marcianus, served as emperor of Rome, Barnaby was born in the town of Epiphaneia, which was on the road that connected Antioch in Syria with Cilicia and Lydia to the Northwest. One day, when Barnaby was a young man, God spoke to him and Barnaby spread His Word throughout the town that night. A man of the town, a pagan Greek, approached Barnaby and asked the youth what was the matter. Barnaby spoke to him of His Word and then asked to be flogged for his sins until dawn. Barnaby wept for his sins while he was being whipped, so shamed was he by his transgressions, and so moved was he by his love for God and his only son. Following the night of Barnaby's preaching, most of Epiphaneia's citizens, pagans, publicly ridiculed and injured him. He accepted the jokes and blows with quiet patience, in the manner of his Lord, Jesus Christ. Years afterward, in an attempt to quell the filthy and raging urges in his body, Barnaby castrated himself and cast his member to the dogs, stating that perhaps his beastly parts might make a good meal for beasts. In addition, Barnaby also resisted eating, sleeping and bathing. He continued to preach the Word and accept the injuries of Epiphaneia's townspeople. One day, God spoke to Barnaby, and told him to leave the town and live in the contemplative barren lands of the area. Barnaby then lived in a cave in the hills that ran alongside the road to Antioch, contemplating His love and His glory. Upon one of his explorations, he came across a large pillar that had been erected by a long-dead pagan king. In an attempt to illustrate Christianity's impending victory over the heathen religions of the time, Barnaby scaled the twenty-foot tall pillar and decided to live at the summit until the pagan gods had been banished from the land by the might of Christian faith in God's name. While he was on his pillar, Barnaby would often preach to whoever would listen or would simply weep for his love of Christ, converting many pagans to the true faith during his time upon the pillar, may he be praised. He also sought physical pain, allowing himself to be the target of slings and stones, thrown by the townspeople at Barnaby's behest. He performed many miracles while he lived on the pillar. Every dawn and dusk Barnaby would wrestle with diabolic spirits. Barnaby was also able to compel the birds of the area to come at his beckoning and offer him food. He preached from his pillar for thirty-seven more years until his death. Barnaby died atop his pillar the night of October 27, the year of our Lord 312. When Barnaby died, a cast of hawks guarded his body until it became one with the pillar. Barnaby's spirit ascended to Heaven fifteen days afterward. The story of Barnabas spread throughout the Levant and eventually the local bishop decided to research Barnaby's story. Barnaby was nominated for canonization shortly after and Barnaby became St. Barnaby Stylites during the reign of the pope St. Hormisdas in the year of our Lord 517. Amen. (ch. xvil)

8. At this, Fluvuis makes a great joke about Barnaby and the Delian's daughter, running along the lines of "no wheel of the wheelwright's previous construction had ever journeyed on such a spirited riding before that night."

9. From that day on, the Romans of the town referred to Barnaby as Canemorderens ("the one having been bitten by a dog" or "the dog-bitten one") or Ficusunum ("the one-figged one").

10. The pillar was erected by Assur-Nassur-Bani-pal III, of Assyria, as a monument to his defeat of the Hittites in the year before Christ 1438. Assur-Nassur-Bani-pal III was an avid devotee of the local phallic cult prominent during this time and the pillar resembled a roughly hewn sandstone phallus, which was covered in depictions of the battle and Assur-Nassur-Bani-pal's ceremonial raping of the vanquished royal family.

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